PORT Macquarie will be a blaze of red on Friday, October 15 to mark Go Red for Dyslexia day.
A record number of local schools, businesses and buildings will Go Red, with Tacking Point Lighthouse becoming a beacon for dyslexia awareness for the sixth consecutive year.
The colour red represents the red pen which is often used to mark schoolwork. Go Red for Dyslexia reclaims the colour to empower children and raise awareness globally.
Local light ups include Tacking Point Lighthouse, Glasshouse, Essential Energy (Buller St building), The Westport Club, St Agnes Parish schools and Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan's office in Horton Street Port Macquarie. The Big Banana Coffs Harbour will also be glowing red on Friday.
Go Red light ups are supported by The Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise, Port Macquarie Hastings Council, InPhase Productions and Midcoast Uniform Solutions.
More than dyslexia
The message from Dyslexia Mid North Coast (DMNC) Youth Ambassadors is 'we're more than our dyslexia'.
"We are more than a red mark on a page," says rising star Lucas Blair.
"And, we are more than our dyslexia," said youth ambassador Georgia Ryan.
"We are passionate about many things and it's important to celebrate our unique strengths and abilities."
Despite lockdowns and restrictions, DMNC Youth Ambassadors (ages 12 years +) and Rising Stars (aged 8-12 years) met through face to face and online workshops to rally the local community to Go Red in 2021.
"Every child has strengths that should be nurtured. For children with dyslexia this is vital for their mental health and self-esteem," said Dyslexia Mid North Coast co-Founder Kelly King.
Parents urged to seek support early
Ten percent of Australians have dyslexia, with up to twenty percent being on the dyslexic continuum. In every classroom, there will be 3-5 students who struggle to learn to read, write and spell.
"It's a misconception that if you read to your child every night they will learn to read; many children need systematic phonics instruction to crack the alphabetic code," Mrs King said.
"Early identification and evidence-based interventions are key to closing the learning gap for children at risk of reading failure."
From 2021, the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check became compulsory for all NSW public schools, signalling the expectation that phonics be taught in every classroom. The check identifies students who need extra help.
The NSW Department of Education has introduced several excellent initiatives over the past 18 months, including a Phonemic Awareness Screener, funding for Decodable Readers, and professional learning programs in Phonemic Awareness, Phonics and Effective Reading Instruction.
The classroom setting is one of the most challenging environments for students with specific learning difficulties including ADHD and dyslexia. Dyslexia MNC encourages parents to seek support early if their child is struggling at school.
Follow the Facebook page for updates on Go Red for Dyslexia facebook.com/dyslexiamidnorthcoast/